While the ultimate candy holiday has passed, it has probably left you a sweet and horrible gift… a stash of way too many confectionary treats! Maybe you were “the one” who gave out “healthier” treats this year, like my friend Josten Fish recommends in her article, 10 Halloween Treats That Aren’t Candy. But even so, that doesn’t keep your kitchen candy free. So, the dilemma presents… What to do with all the candy?
Growing up we had a dear family friend who was known for her irresistible Candy Bar Cake. It was a moist and spongy chocolate cake topped with a delightful whipped cream frosting and little bits of sweet, chewy candy bars all throughout the cake and icing. As tasty as it was, that is not what I am recommending today. I realize you don’t need me to talk about all the added sugar sitting in tightly sealed wrappers on your countertops OR provide the guidelines for sugar in your diet. You already know that!
But, I do want to share a few creative ideas for what to do with all the tempting sweets stashed, maybe even overflowing, in your pantry.
There are thousands of soldiers and underprivileged kids overseas who would be thrilled to receive a care package with a few sweet treats. After sorting through the candy with your kids and having them choose which treats they want to keep and which ones to give away, create a donation box with the extra, unopened candy. There are several organizations who will collect your candy for care packages and then ship overseas. You could also consider adding in a toothbrush and toothpaste as well!
This is the perfect time to create a family event or even establish a family tradition to bless those overseas who need a smile. Check out these organizations for information on where to take your candy and for deadlines.
- Operation Gratitude
- Halloween Candy Buyback
- Soldier’s Angels
- Operation Stars & Stripes
- Operation Shoebox
Surrounding churches and missions organizations may also be interested in collecting candy for upcoming mission trips to underprivileged areas. In addition, food banks, shelters, or soup kitchens may be able to accept candy as well. Many kids in shelters are not able to go trick-or-treating but a simple donation could be a meaningful sweet treat. Check with your local organizations to see if they are gathering candy.
02. SWITCH WITCH
If mommies and daddies are interested in using a fun game to help their kids purge their stash of candy, Switch Witch may be the perfect solution. Switch Witch comes to visit for a few days before Halloween and then that night, if left some candy, Switch Witch will swap it for a fun new toy or gadget. The mommies and daddies can choose to dispose of the candy as they wish and the kids get the surprise of a fun gift.
Switch Witch can be purchased to become a fall decoration in your home OR you can find a representative witch at a local decor or craft store to play the part. If you aren’t into witches, consider using this concept to create your own candy swap. Maybe the Tooth Fairy comes to remove some of the candy and replaces it with money or a small gift. Why not have a “Scarecrow Swap” or use some other fall character to collect candy for a small trinket in return?
Who says candy has to be eaten?! Why not decorate with it? Yes, if it is visible it may be more tempting to eat. BUT, if it is stuck together with glue, it won’t be as appetizing. Check out Pinterest for hundreds of ideas but these are a few to get your creative juices flowing:
- Candy ornaments
- Gingerbread house
- Colorful Candy Stained Glass
All of these can be sealed at the end with a clear acrylic to help them stay beautiful and keep longer. Turn this into a fun and festive art event before the holidays get going full force!
Halloween and holidays that are candy-laden are awesome times to sit down with your kids and talk about enjoying treats and how your family chooses to define “moderation.” Have them set boundaries with you identifying how frequently they can have a piece and how much is available in one sitting or one day. Maybe have them write these simple guidelines down so that everyone can be reminded if someone “forgets.”
Each child can place their candy in a plastic bag with their name on it and store in the pantry. Remember, out of sight, out of mind, so consider where and how high you want to place the bags of candy depending on the boundaries you set.
This is not about setting candy rules, which sound restrictive and unfun. Turn this chat into a fruitful discussion about how we care for our bodies AND enjoy occasional treats. If needed, use the traffic light to explain different kinds of foods and how often we eat them: Go (green), Slow/Sometimes (yellow), Whoa/Infrequent (red). And, don’t forget to mention the importance of taking care of our teeth to prevent cavities!
Rules and restrictions don’t teach our kids about how to make decisions that care for their bodies but neither does free reign to the candy cache. Have some short but intentional conversations with your kids. Enjoy some sweet treats- it’s okay! And choose a clever but effective plan to uphold your family’s health values.
TRUTH: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. –Galatians 5:13
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The article was originally posted in November 2016 and updated in November 2017 for accuracy.